[For part one, click here]
Ahlan asjabi, hello my friends! This week, for a second time, I will feature some of the best beaches in the Middle East. My goal? To uncover some hidden gems of the region. Enjoy (and click on any photo to enlarge)!
Some of the clearest, most azure waters in the world can be found in the Middle East. It is a shame that due to negative hype and the media, many Westerners do not realize that travel to the Middle East includes relaxation as well. Therefore, on this post, I have highlighted hidden gems & some of the best beaches in the Middle East. Hope they inspire you to travel to this “stigmatized” region!
While the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is almost land-locked, it is still bathed by the Red Sea in the south and the Dead Sea on the west. Thus, a relaxing beach & spa vacation is still feasible. You may head to Aqaba for some swimming and diving or the Dead Sea region to float over therapeutic waters and have the perfect spa vacation.
Unlike popular belief, Oman’s best beaches are those where you can set up camp and not the ones serviced by the popular beach resorts. While most tourists prefer the overcrowded private beaches, the best places to visit for relaxation are Khor Habalayn (Musandam Peninsula), Fins Beach (near Sur, eastern coast) and most beaches around Mirbat (Dhofar region). Please note though, these are real camping beaches (read: No facilities)
A peninsula located in the Persian Gulf, Qatar is an Arab emirate (a state ruled by a Muslim monarch) with a great array of beach towns and water activities. Better yet? According to the Qatar Tourism Authority, more than 25% of its lands are listed as natural reserves. Some of them are Al Thakhira, Ras Abrouq and Al Reem. In the former, you can even spot oryx and Arabian gazelles! According to several local and expat recounts, however, the most spectacular beach of all is Inland Sea (pictured above). Khor al-Adaid (as Qataris know it), is a conglomeration of sand dunes that lead to the ocean. Plenty of space to lounge & bask in the sun–and also plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy while at it.
Unfortunately, this tiny country in the Persian Gulf is mainly known by Westerners simply because of the first Persian Gulf War. And while many in the West remain in the dark about the glitz and amazing hotels and relaxation this small Arab destination has in store, it remains the little secret of some expats and military veterans. For top facilities by the ocean, the most popular beach clubs are Messilah Beach, Al-Fahaheel Marine Club, Al-Oqeila Beach Club, Al-Sha’ab Sea Club & Ras Al-Ardh Club. According to several sources, the latter is located in the hottest spot in town, Ras Al-Salmiya district, and is best suited for tourists looking for a diversified set of activities and facilities (including play gardens for children). In terms of specific beaches, the ones that typically top lists are Messilah Beach, Mangaf Beach and Agila Beach. Their sands and waters, however, do not compare with other top-notch beaches in, say, the Mediterranean or Red Sea or Socotra Island.
And that shall be all for part two of the Best beaches in the Middle East! Stay tuned as next Beach Thursday I will feature other azure hidden gems of the Arab world.
In your opinion, which are the best beaches in the Middle East?